Stacey Linnartz and I both went to NYU Grad Acting, which means that we know nearly everything about one another (and yet still, we like each other).  Zelda Fichandler, who ran the program while we were in school, would use an analogy likening us to medical residents in the arts.  We spent about 16 hours a day together for three years, on the 5th floor of 721 Broadway in New York City.  From about a thousand people who audition, the faculty chooses a class of eighteen people.  Those eighteen actors inevitably became a second family, both for better and for worse.  We spent countless hours working on everything from film technique to flexibility, from consonants to clown class, from Shakespeare to Sondheim.  Stacey and I did numerous plays together, but only played opposite each other in our very first project at NYU, as Helena and Bertram in Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well.  She quickly became one of my closest friends.

Stacey is a remarkably strong woman, and if you chance to meet her the adjectives that will come to mind will be cosmopolitan and radiant.  She has a fantastic sense of humor and a distinctive laugh, and she always seems incredibly put together.

(Stacey and I backstage at NYU during Month in the Country by Turgenev )

The transition out of graduate school and into everyday life is complex, and perhaps more so for actors than it is for actual medical residents.  We certainly all leave NYU with expectations of Broadway and a series on HBO.  Yet for every actor who graduates and immediately books a Broadway job like Billy Crudup, there is another actor who works as a “man with a van” helping people move apartments, like Rainn Wilson did.  Both of those actors have since had incredible success, but took very different paths to get there.  I met Stacey for coffee last fall and we talked about this, about how to remain ferociously ambitious yet not let our expectations unravel our hopes.  For both Stacey and I, grad school forced us to let go of control, to embrace an inhibition that doesn’t come easily to  those of us with Type A personalities.  We learned that its okay to break, to allow other people to see the  parts of ourselves we normally would try to hide.  As an audience, whether you know it or not, that is exactly what you want to see an actor do.

The portrait I’ve written of Stacey is titled “Its Okay to Break.”  Mike recently finished the edit of her interview, and hopefully I’ll be able to post it soon to the blog.  The interviews will all be edited down to about three minutes and will precede the songs, creating portraits both visual and musical.  Until then however, you can see Stacey in a play Off-Broadway called Modotti at the Acorn on Theater Row.

I’ll be there on Wednesday.

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